The Best Maternity Dresses for Work

the best maternity dresses for workIf you’re far enough along in your pregnancy that you’ve outgrown your regular-sized, old-standby work dresses and have realized you need to expand your maternity work wardrobe to actual maternity wear, fear not — today we’re rounding up the best maternity sheath dresses for work, many of which we’ve included over the years in our regular maternity workwear recommendations. We’re featuring options from the more affordable end of the spectrum (a possible strategy if you’re planning to be one-and-done) to higher-quality maternity dresses that will last you through two or three (or more) pregnancies.

What are your favorite maternity dresses for work? Do you ever choose double-duty styles that are meant for pregnancy and nursing? When you buy maternity dresses, do you tend to buy a few that are higher-quality or buy a bunch of less expensive ones? (Does it depend on how many kids you plan to have?) Which of your “regular” dresses have been particularly pregnancy-friendly? What do you think are the best maternity dresses for work?

Best Maternity Sheath Dresses for WorkThis simple and very affordable maternity dress — in a cotton blend with a bit of stretch — is from Old Navy. It would work for a more casual day at the office if you add the right accessories and would also be a good option for the weekend (say, for one of those pre-baby date nights that you should load up on right now). It’s not entirely plain, though — it has a fun little twist at the front. The dress is a bestseller at Old Navy and has lots of positive reviews — and not surprisingly, it’s machine washable. It’s on sale for $26, down from $36.99, and it comes in navy, black, and “blaze of glory,” which is (obviously, right?) sort of a dark coral. (There’s also a sleeveless version.) Maternity Twist-Front Bodycon Dress

 

Best Maternity Sheath Dresses for WorkMy various searches at Amazon always bring up a large number of Chinese brands that sell very affordable clothes in varying degrees of quality, and PattyBoutik seems to be one of the better ones. We once featured one of the brand’s maternity/nursing tops, and a reader commented to second the rec (specifically, the dress version of the top). This rayon-blend dress is highly rated at Amazon, where reviewers say it’s comfortable and flattering (80% of the reviews check out on Fakespot, which I recently wrote at Corporette as part of our discussion of when to trust online reviews), and I like how the ruching and cowl neck give it a bit more interest than the basic short-sleeved dress. It’s machine washable, too. The dress is available in black, dark green, heather gray, purple, and cobalt blue; sizes are S–XL; and the price range is $28–$35. Cowl Neck Short Sleeve Maternity Dress
Best Maternity Dresses for Work: We featured a similar “crinkle” dress from Tees by Tina a few years ago — that one had a much higher neckline. On the model at least, the neckline on this one looks a bit low for the office, but, hey, with Nordstrom’s free returns you might as well take a chance and see how work-appropriate it looks on your “enhanced” pregnancy body. (There’s also a sleeveless version, although it dips pretty low in the back). As we wondered last time, we are a little wary of the brand’s “one size fits women’s sizes 2-10” claim, but again — free returns! — plus, the 8% spandex is a significant proportion of the fabric. Like the two dresses above, this one (which is nylon/spandex) is machine washable. The dress comes in 13 (!) colors, from the subdued (a grayish olive, a dark slate blue) to the not-so-much (turquoise, bright purple, sea green). When you’re on the product page, zoom in, because the texture looks a lot better close up — although it seems thin enough that it will probably limit the sorts of fabrics you can layer over it). The dress is $110 at Nordstrom. Crinkle Maternity Sheath Dress
This dress from A Pea in the Pod definitely looks more professional and conservative than the options above, but it’s still cute and stylish. As I read the description, it first seemed like the dress was also made from a nicer fabric, because it says jacquard, but it’s actually not a true jacquard — the pattern is printed, not woven. (It’s a nylon/spandex, like one of the others above.) I do like the print, though, as well as the boatneck, and I also like how the sleeve length is midway between a short sleeve and an elbow sleeve, partly because an elbow sleeve can cut your arm in half … figuratively, that is. (The site still calls it a short-sleeved dress.) The reviews are very positive, with one reviewer commenting, “Looks good with a blazer, cardigan or solo” and another stating she would buy every color and print if more options were available. The dress is $128 in sizes XS–L. Bodycon Maternity Sheath Dress
This dress from reader-favorite Isabella Oliver is kind of like a higher-priced, higher-quality version of the Old Navy dress at the top — a simple scoopneck dress with sleeves (although three-quarter in this case) that includes a little detail that elevates it over a basic dress. Here, it’s really interesting (although symmetrical) pleating at the waist, which I really like. And like the Old Navy option, you can dress it up or down. It’s made from stretch jersey and looks really soft and comfortable, as well as flattering, and it comes in both black and gray. A really pretty cobalt blue has just sold out, unfortunately, so if you like the other options you might want to grab one of the remaining choices now. The dress is machine washable. It’s $149 at Nordstrom, where it has several great reviews. Ivybridge Jersey Maternity Dress
Best Maternity Dresses for Work - "Maternity-Friendly" Classic Office Style for Moms-to-BeMM.LaFleur didn’t specifically design this to be a maternity dress, but it’s one of their pieces that’s labeled “Maternity-Friendly” — the brand says that the dresses and other pieces can be worn before, during, and after pregnancy, thanks to “the power of stretch.” The dress has flattering French darts (which are hard to see in the online images) and interesting twisted straps (which are also hard to spot in the photos). It also has lingerie straps (hooray) and a concealed back zip, and it’s fully lined. Note that it’s dry clean only. Yes, tweed isn’t the first thing you’d reach for in May, but I think the color looks spring-y enough, and the dress is mostly cotton/nylon rather than wool. (Have you seen our Corporette post on summer/winter tweed?) The dress is $240. (Note that MM.LF competitor Of Mercer also has maternity-friendly dresses!) Pictured: The Lydia Dress

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Which are the best maternity dresses for work? We often cover them as part of our regular maternity workwear coverage, but thought we'd do a special roundup so they're all in one place. These are some of our favorite maternity sheath dresses, body con dresses, and other professional-looking dresses for the pregnant mama-to-be!

Comments

  1. Has anyone actually worn an MM.LaFleur dress both during and after pregnancy? Did it keep its shape or (permanently) stretch out in the belly area?

    • shortperson says:

      my mm lafleur dresses worked through about 1/2 way through the 2nd trimester, except the casey which lasted most of the way through the second trimester. so longer than my other non maternity clothes. but after that — no. then again, im short and i gained almost 50 pounds so ymmv.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My best dresses came from Motherhood Maternity. They were a stretchy material that wasn’t super formal, but had good patterns that dressed them up a bit. There was ruching with a side twist type detail (I think). Cap sleeve. I don’t see them on their website anymore. I had two and would have liked a third but only had 5-6 work maternity outfits, so decided three of the same dress was a bit much. And they were only like $40 regular price.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I really do not like that so many maternity dresses are “body con.” I don’t want the dress to be super tight on my hips and butt just because I am pregnant…

    I found a few good maternity dresses from Gap and Macy’s recently. The one from Gap are wrap dresses that are perhaps a little on the more casual side, but I can get away with that in my office. The ones from Macy’s are Motherhood Maternity and Jessica Simpson brands. They were all very low cost, which I appreciate for clothes I’ll only wear for a few months.

  4. I got MMLF Adrienne and Georgia dresses and two jardigans and have worn them from 14 to 28 weeks. Perfect for my federal jury trial, client meetings and comfortable enough to wear all the time. Plan to wear them all the way through and post partum. Worth the money. Seraphine and other T-shirt dresses w my regular blazers or the jardigans are working fine. Recently used Thred Up to get some trousers and a Seraphine dress. No issues.

  5. Mama Llama says:

    I’ve gotten a ponte dress from Old Navy in two colors, and it’s my favorite maternity dress so far. (29 weeks) Comfortable, nice fabric, nice enough for work, not body-con, and room to grow in the belly. I’ll put a link in a reply.

  6. I bought a bunch of work dresses from Seraphine (their sale section was great(. I preferred basic dresses that I could accessorize multiple ways with scarves and jewelry.

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